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How To Reheat Calamari – 5 Best Ways

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We love calamari! Who doesn’t? But unfortunately, it seems that most seafood items are nearly impossible to properly reheat. You always have to sacrifice either texture or flavor.

But, is it possible to reheat calamari without altering its characteristics? The best way to reheat calamari will depend on how the item was originally cooked, but generally speaking, an air fryer is the best method as it preserves the texture of the calamari itself without losing the crunchiness of the coating.

Today, we will explore the best and most effective techniques for reheating calamari. We will take a look at their pros and cons, and when it is best to use them. So, are you ready to dive right in?

What Is Calamari? How Is It Used?

Calamari is a well-known culinary term used to describe cooked squid. Squid is a type of cephalopod that is extremely popular in cuisines across the world. These creatures have elongated bodies, eight arms, 2 tentacles, and large eyes.

When prepared for food, all parts of squid are edible including their body (mantle), arms, tentacles, and ink (often used to color food items black). The only parts that aren’t consumed include their beaks and pen.

Squid can be prepared in a wide variety of ways. And, they have a surprisingly neutral flavor pallet.

This is why this ingredient is used in so many different cuisines! They are easily adaptable to different flavor profiles and cooking techniques.

Fried Calamari

When we talk about fried calamari, two main cooking techniques are used; pan-fried and deep-fried.

Pan-fried calamari is easy to make and simply requires a bit of oil or fat to lubricate the pan. Then, over medium to high heat, the ingredient is quickly cooked along with some spices

When it comes to deep-fried calamari, we are going for texture!

These are often coated with a tempura batter or crumbed with a textured ingredient (like Panko crumbs or crushed chips). They produce super crunchy and crispy outside with a juicy and tender inside.

Baked Calamari

Baked calamari can also be quite versatile. This technique is commonly used for stuffed calamari heads/tubes. Popular stuffing includes herb butter, feta spinach, or fish pate.

You can also bake calamari rings or heads, but they won’t give you a nice texture or flavor.

How Is Calamari Stored?

Regardless of how the calamari is prepared, it is still a meat-based ingredient. So, this means that it has to follow specific storage rules.

Meat (seafood especially) is a highly perishable ingredient. So, by not storing it correctly, you can cause it to deteriorate extremely quickly. This could give you food poisoning, which can even lead to death!

Storing Cooked Calamari In The Fridge

  1. First, your cooked calamari should be completely cooled. At first, you can cool it at room temperature for roughly half an hour. Then, if it is only lukewarm, you can place it inside the refrigerator (partially covered) to completely cool down.
  2. Once cooled, you can place the cooked calamari inside an airtight container.
  3. Store the calamari inside of the fridge, away from any raw meats and fresh fruits or vegetables. They will still be good for 2-3 days.

Storing Cooked Calamari In The Freezer

  1. Again, allow your cooked calamari to completely cool to at least room temperature. Don’t keep it outside for too long though, especially not on hot or humid days.
  2. Place the calamari inside an airtight container. Cover the container with a layer of aluminum foil to help prevent freezer burn.
  3. Store the cooked calamari inside the freezer for up to 2 months.

Tips For Storing Calamari

  • Make sure that your fridge or freezer doesn’t have any fluctuating temperatures. A stable fridge should operate below 40ºF. Your freezer should always be around 0ºF.
  • Don’t store your cooked calamari inside of a stained container or one that contains odors. They are highly absorbent and will take those flavors in.
  • Calamari has gone bad when they start to discolor, get slimy, or have a fishy odor to them. Our chef friends always say, “When fish smells like fish, it has gone bad.”

The Best Ways To Reheat Calamari

Now, let’s get to the reason we are all here today, how to reheat calamari! There are a surprising amount of methods you can use. But, as with everything, some work better than others.

1. Pan-Fry

To reheat calamari using a stovetop, you will need either a pot or a pan.

Now, this technique shouldn’t be used for all types of cooked calamari. For example, you would be better off using a different reheating technique for stuffed calamari heads or crumbed calamari rings.

But, this technique does work incredibly well for simple (uncoated) deep-fried calamari, pan-fried calamari, and plain baked calamari.

How To

  1. Add a little bit of olive oil (or butter) to a pot or pan. Heat the pan over medium heat.
  2. Then, add your cooked calamari into your preheated pan. Allow them to reheat while stirring frequently (every 20-30 seconds) to prevent them from sticking or burning.
  3. Drain the reheated calamari on a paper towel if they are too oily. Serve immediately while still warm.

2. Oven

When using the oven method, while it does take a little bit longer, it is a lot less work. This technique involves simply placing the cooked calamari into an oven-proof container and reheating it inside your preheated oven.

Reheating calamari inside of the oven works amazingly well for stuffed heads, previously baked calamari dishes, and pan-fried calamari items.

How To

  1. Preheat your oven to 320ºF. The lower temperature allows the food to heat while not overcooking.
  2. Then, place your precooked calamari inside a lined oven-proof dish.
  3. Heat the calamari inside the oven for 10-20 minutes, depending on the size and quantity of your dish.

3. Microwave

Who doesn’t love the powers of a microwave? While many people often shame the use of this appliance, we must say, when in a hurry, no one can deny that it isn’t incredibly effective!

When using a microwave to reheat food, always first try to look for the “reheating” function.

Some microwaves even have a reheating function specifically for seafood. These functions work at lower temperatures so that the food doesn’t dry out or overcook.

If your microwave doesn’t have any of these functions, simply place it on a lower power setting (or a medium setting) and reheat it for a couple of minutes.

The exact time will depend on the size of your portion and the power of your microwave.

A microwave is by no way the best reheating technique for calamari, especially if it is stuffed or has some type of crunchy texture. But it is the fastest!

4. Deep-Fry

Now, deep-fried foods are often the most difficult to reheat. This is because of their unique texture. It is nearly impossible to keep it as crunchy and crisp when reheating it.

So, the best way to keep this texture is to use the same cooking technique to reheat the item. 

If you have made deep-fried squid, especially if they have been battered, deep-fry them again to reheat them.

You can use slightly lower temperatures to help them re-crisp while heating through. Work in small batches to prevent overloading the fryer.

One thing to keep in mind with this technique is that it is a bit labor-intensive. But, it provides the best crispy results for reheated food.

How To

  1. Preheat your frying oil to 320ºF. You can test the temperature with a digital thermometer (if you don’t have one, we’d recommend this one) if the deep fryer doesn’t have a built-in one.
  2. Add your cooked calamari inside the preheated oil and allow them to fry for 4-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the item and the size of the batch. Remove them once they have re-crisped and are completely reheated.
  3. Remove the heated calamari from the oil, drain them on some paper or kitchen towels, and serve them immediately.

5. Air-Fry

Last, but certainly not least, you can use an air fryer to reheat any type of calamari, be it stuffed, baked, deep-fried, or pan-fried.

The air fryer works with a fan that evenly distributes the high temperatures. So, you can use a lower temperature to reheat oven-baked and pan-fried calamari.

But, if you need to re-crisp deep-fried items, you can use the higher temperature settings.

How To

  1. Set your air fryer to 350°F. Make sure to choose the correct settings for the item you are reheating. If your air fryer has a “reheat” function, use it.
  2. Place the items inside of the air fryer basket and place them in the chamber. Allow them to reheat for 3-4 minutes. 

Which Reheating Method Is The Best?

When it comes to “which reheating method is the best” unfortunately there isn’t one set answer. It mostly depends on how the calamari was initially cooked, and which reheating technique will best preserve that item’s flavor and texture.

The method that will work best for most types of calamari is probably the air fryer. It can both reheat and re-crisp items equally well.

The worst method to use would be the microwave. While it does reheat extremely well, it isn’t that good at maintaining a good texture for the items.

So, for pan-fried calamari, you can use any of the above-mentioned reheating techniques. They will all work equally well, despite some slightly changing the texture.

For deep-fried items, we would only reheat them inside of an air fryer, deep fryer, and maybe even the oven (at higher temperatures).

Baked calamari will reheat best inside of the oven, especially stuffed heads. But, some other baked calamari items can be reheated inside the air fryer, in a pan, or in a deep fryer.

Air-Fried Calamari

Air-Fried Calamari

Yield: 1 serving
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 4 minutes
Total Time: 6 minutes

These air-fried calamari are a fantastic and easy way to quickly reheat your favorite appetizer in minutes!


  • Leftover calamari


    1. Set your air fryer to 350°F. Make sure to choose the correct settings for the item you are reheating. If your air fryer has a “reheat” function, use it.
    2. Place the items inside of the air fryer basket and place them in the chamber. Allow them to reheat for 3-4 minutes. 

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